I am a follower of culture. By that I mean, in a culture where more is better, I have been on a journey to obtain more and more. When my husband and I built our house, we purposely built small because we didn’t want excess room that we would be filling up with stuff. We wanted to keep our lives simple instead.
Great thought, not so easy to carry out when as I said I follow culture. I can testify that more is not better at all. More is too much! More is smothering and overwhelming. As Lysa TerKeurst wrote in her book, Made to Crave, we are made to crave God. Each of us has a hole in us meant to be filled with relationship with Jesus Christ. When we don’t fill that hole with Him, we find other things to try to fill it with.
While I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I have not been filling up on Him. I’ve been filling up with stuff that cannot satisfy. My two biggest fillers are food and buying. Consequently, I am unhealthy and my house is overrun with more stuff than I can possibly use.
I’ve been spending more time with Jesus each day, reading the Bible and praying. The result is I’m getting more filled up with Him and not needing all the stuff I thought was so necessary to my happiness.
I know I am not alone in my “more stuff.” Per Chris Marlow in Doing Good is Simple: Making a Difference Right Where You Are, 1 in 10 households rents a storage unit. There are over 59,000 self-storage facilities worldwide and 48,000 of them are in the U.S (Marlow 2016). Isn’t this proof we have a “more” problem in our culture today? We have so much stuff we can’t fit it all in our houses and garages. We rent storage. We know so many people personally who don’t rent storage units but can’t get their cars in their garages because their garages are full of their stuff.
We use our garage for our vehicles. But we have additions to it for different kinds of stuff as well as a large pole shed. Still, in my house, I clean around clutter, I try to find room for more and more stuff in a house already overloaded. I have looked at all the stuff I have and not known where to start with purging but have known I need to for my own piece of mind. One of my biggest problem areas is books. I have bookshelves in several rooms and they are all overflowing. I can no longer make my house look neat and clean because of the overflow of books. I love books but many are unread because I don’t have time to read them all.
The picture above is of books I have decided to purge from my collection, over 300 books. I have been convicted of my sin of More. For days, I walked around in such shame and shock at how much money I had spent on books. I estimate I could have bought a new car with what I have invested in books. I have confessed and asked for forgiveness from Jesus Christ and that has finally freed me to let go of more.
Once I have finished purging books, I am going to keep going until I have purged throughout my house. I am already starting to experience freedom from the need for more stuff. I know that is counter-culture and I’m quite happy about it. I want to experience the blessing of less instead of the curse of more stuff.
My goal is to get through my entire house in the next six months. Normally, I would take the unwanted stuff to a second-hand store. But this time, I want to do more. I am reading Chris’ book right now. The entire point of the book is that there is tremendous need in our world because there are so many poor people who can’t get what they need to survive without help. I can’t help the world, but I can help one person at a time. And if more people reach out, we can help more people.
With Chris’ message fresh in my heart, and a pile of books to get rid of, I began to think about ways I could purge and benefit others. So, instead of taking the easy way and dropping everything off at a second-hand store I am going to have a garage sale (something I detest doing because of all the work) and donate the proceeds to the poor. I am going to find a place where my donation specifically helps someone who cannot help themselves. Some ideas I am researching are: contribute to the digging of a well so a poor community can have clean water, or to a house intended for rescued sex trafficked children. Or sponsoring a child from a third world country so they can be educated and have help with their bare necessities. There is just so much need.
I am going to join with my daughter and her family in my garage sale because together we can do more than we can alone. Her children will be a part of the process and will help with the research on who we are going to help. What a lesson for them in our “more” culture.
Jesus commands us to take care of the widows and orphans several times in the Bible. It is appropriate that out of my great plenty, I can help the poor with their more needed to survive. I like that. Feels good. And in the future, by not spending so I have more, I can contribute more to the poor. A repented sin of more and a filling up with Jesus; that’s a win-win for everyone.
If you are someone with more, I challenge you to purge, sell your excess and give to those who are lacking. That’s how we make this world a better place, one person at a time.